It had been something I had been thinking about for several years and was just too scared to make the decision. Much as I love change, the thought of going thru the selling process and eventually the “pack all the crap up into boxes and move it” process was quite overwhelming.
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Plus, I had my two studio cats, Max and Emily, to worry about. What would I do with them? We have three dogs at home, and I feared that introducing cats into the mix would be an adventure.
At the time we had a home in town, but we had built a small 1-bedroom cabin on a sweet and quiet fishing lake in Arkansas. Since we lived on the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas, our home, our cabin and the studio were only 1/2-hour drive apart so commuting wasn’t an issue but my husband, Ben, and I really wanted to make the full-time commitment to living at the lake and I wanted a home studio where I could retire and just play in clay.
Having a big, wonderful studio was great while I was building my business, but it was now time to retire and enjoy the rest of my life.
So, I woke up one day last May and said, “that’s it…. I am done, it’s time to retire!” I called a realtor who came out with all the comps, we discussed the sale, listed it and by the weekend I had two full price offers!
Whoa…..it was really happening.
It was almost too quick; I wasn’t expecting that, and I certainly wasn’t prepared! Now I had to think about selling off and donating some equipment and getting a new studio!
That weekend we went portable building shopping and found a great 12×24 building with three lofts that looked like a little barn that I thought would be perfect for my new (and much smaller) Studio. We placed our order, had it insulated, painted green and added extra windows!
I loved it but was pretty scared…. would all my stuff fit.
Once it was delivered and placed on our property the electrician was called. Because we were doing this at a time that everything was super expensive running the electric was a tad more expensive than I hoped and even the electrician apologized for the high cost. With a kiln though, I wanted to make sure it was done right.
After the electricians finished it was time to bring in some drywallers.
Once the drywall was up it was time for me to put on an old t-shirt and stained pants and paint the walls. I chose blue on one side and green on the other and tried to blend them together the best I could.
Now the moving began in earnest.
i only had 45 days originally but it took at least 3 weeks for the electric, drywall and painting so I had some bustling to do. By now, I had sold two of my three wheels, my pugmill and my big slab roller table. I KNEW they would not fit! I had also gathered up some tools, books, and molds and donated them to a local pottery school. I hadn’t made anything new which allowed me to have reduced inventory!! I reduced my glaze buckets, stashed stuff into boxes, and continued to worry if all this would fit.
We made the move one small truck load at a time, and I tell you what…. I was pooped. I was beat. I was exhausted. But I also was thrilled to death that I now had a place to work at home where I could enjoy my home, my husband, and the critters.
I called it my “CREATIVE CRIB” because I could see me doing so much more than pottery in my little she shed. I could play with torch fired enameling and have a place to chill out and do some wire weaving.
It wasn’t all that easy fitting everything into the new pottery studio.
But I did it and here I am, a year later, and I have finally got everything in place, just the way I like it. It took a while; I was forever moving things around. My biggest hurdle now was water. At the old studio I had a sink in the pottery and a sink in the glaze room. In my new studio I don’t have running water! What I have found works fine for me is several buckets of water that every few weeks I clean out and refill. I also scrounged up a water dispenser that uses a 5-gallon bottle of water which I also refill. Whenever I need a small amount of clean water, I have it. The nice thing about this too, is that in the winter I can get hot water from the dispenser to use for throwing water!!
I also loved that I have three lofts. Not only did it give me lower ceilings for lighting, I also provided plenty of storage space for show tents, packing materials, empty buckets and anything else I didnt need right away. I keep an 6 foot ladder handy, which is tucked away between two shelving units, to get up there.
One of the biggest benefits of reducing my studio size was that it has actually allowed me to be more creative. Without all the extra bills that were attached to the old studio, insurance, internet, water, electricity, I can concentrate on making more of what I want, experiment more or even take some time off to read a book or go fishing!
Do you need some extra lighting in your studio? I bought these and I couldn't be happier. They are lightweight but really bright. There is basically no installation. You can hang them or screw them into place. You can even plug them into each other so they turn on altogether. Plus they are LED which means they will last a really long time and use little electricity.
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Keeping a clean work area is not only good for our creativity but also for our health. You have to be very careful about breathing in clay dust since it's mostly silica. Mopping regularly is highly recommended but what about the nooks and crannies!!! I bought this Hepa Vacuum for my studio and I love it. It's powerful and is a Certified HEPA System (99. 97% efficient on . 3 microns). The High-Efficiency Dust collection Bag holds a ton of debris and dust so you can vacuum for a pretty long time before replacing it.
There is also a smaller one now too.
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